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Jasper canopic jar and cover from the Egyptian Collection with packaging - 1978

Jasper canopic jar and cover from the Egyptian Collection with packaging
    Jasper canopic jar and cover from the Egyptian Collection with packaging

This terra cotta on black jasper canopic jar and cover were produced in 1978 as part of Wedgwood's Egyptian Collection. The piece is decorated with ornamented hieroglyphics and zodiac signs and is based on an original Wedgwood canopic jar design from c.1805.

This terra cotta on black jasper canopic jar and cover were produced in 1978 as part of Wedgwood's Egyptian Collection. The piece is decorated with ornamented hieroglyphics and zodiac signs and is based on an original Wedgwood canopic jar design from c.1805. The cover has been moulded and is in the form of a young male head wearing the nemes - the traditional pharaonic headdress. The body of the vase has been thrown and turned. It is decorated with a succession of ornamentations in circular bands or friezes. At the rim there is a band of simple five-petaled rosettes. Beneath this is is a larger band of hieroglyphs and symbols of Egyptian mythology - these include winged sphinxes, falcon wings and crocodiles. In the centre of the jar are the signs of the zodiac. The casts of these were originally supplied by Mary Landré, and they were subsequently remodelled my William Hackwood. The Zodiac frieze is bordered at its base by another rosette frieze. The area between that and the foot is decorated with a branching papyrus and spiralling lotus - both ornaments inspired by prints in Bernard de Montfaucon's L'Antiquité Expliquée. The foot rim is in wreath form. The Egyptian Collection featured canopic vases in different colourways. The terra cotta on black vase was produced in a limited edition of 500. Each were supplied boxed with a numbered, signed certificate.

  • Type of object: Ornamental ware/vase
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
  • Year produced: 1978
  • Body: Jasper
  • Glaze: unglazed
  • Material: ceramic, paper, plastic
  • Decoration: moulded, ornamented
  • Accession number: 13804, 13804a, 13804b, 13804c, 13804d
  • Dimensions: 138 mm (approximate height of base), 113 mm (approximate diameter of base), 110 mm (approximate height of cover), 104 mm (diameter of cover), 235 mm (approximate overall height), 113 mm (approximate overall diameter)

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Related people

  • Mary Landré Supplier of Zodiac Ornaments

    Mary Landré - Supplier of Zodiac Ornaments

    Mrs Landré supplied Wedgwood with casts in 1769 and 1774, and invoices from her are preserved in the Wedgwood archives. Little more is known about her, but her charges were moderate and it seems clear that none of the pieces obtained from Mary Landré were her original work.

  • William Hackwood Modeller of Zodiac Ornaments

    William Hackwood - Modeller of Zodiac Ornaments (1753 - 1836)

    Josiah Wedgwood first took on Hackwood at the Wedgwood Etruria factory in 1769. Wedgwood described him as an 'ingenious boy' - he was ultimately destined to become the chief modeller of the ornamental range at the Etruria factory. His forté was the production and modelling of portrait medallions - and he was particularly indispensable in the work of adapting busts, reliefs and designs that Wedgwood obtained from various sources. Many of the 18th-century portrait medallions are by his hand and include portraits of Josiah Wedgwood I, George III and Queen Charlotte. A few signed works also exist - the portraits of Garrick and Shakespeare were signed on the truncation, or just under the shoulder. Wedgwood disapproved of this practice and Hackwood was instructed not to repeat this.In 1774, Wedgwood wrote 'Hackwood is of the greatest value and consequence in finishing fine small work, and of this kind we have and shall have enough to employ him constantly'. Two years later he was further wishing that he had '....half a dozen more Hackwoods'. Hackwood continued working for Wedgwood at Etruria for 63 years and produced many bas reliefs and works that can be authenticated.

  • Bernard de Montfaucon Associated

    Bernard de Montfaucon - Associated (1655 - 1741)

    Bernard de Montfaucon was a French scholar whose most celebrated work was ‘L’Antiquité expliquée et representée en figures’ published in five volumes in 1719. Josiah I used this source work particularly for decorative motifs in the Egyptian taste.


  • Ancient Egypt

    Ancient Egypt

    Egyptian civilisation can be traced back to the unity of upper and lower Egypt in about 3000 B.C. From then until the Persian conquest, the nation’s artistic history largely concerns the remarkable temples and funeral monuments built by the pharaohs as part of their worship of the sun-god.

      Each of the three periods of monarchy – the Old, Middle and new Kingdoms – has left distinctive treasures. From the Old Kingdom (c. 2686- 2160 B.C) derive the pyramids and the Great Sphinx (guardian of the royal necropolis). By the New Kingdom era (1570 BC onwards), the pharaohs were buried in tombs, ornately decorated and endowed with gifts. The most famous tomb is that of Tutankhamun (mid 14th century BC), a royal child who ascended the throne at nine years of age by marrying Ankhenenpaaten (to be known as Ankhesenamun), daughter of King Amenophis IV. He appears to have died at 18, having managed to restore the cult of Amun-Re, spirit of the sun-god, which had been abandoned by his predecessor.

    Tutankhamun’s tomb remained undiscovered until its excavation in 1922 by Howard Carter, an English archaeologist, and his sponsor, Lord Canarvon. Its riches included a canopic chest and many alabaster vases; gilded statues of kings and animals; jewels of lapislazuli and turquoise, and as Carter exclaimed: ‘ everywhere the glint of gold’. The entire Tutankhamun collection can be seen in the Cairo Museum.

  • Signs of the Zodiac

    Signs of the Zodiac

    The word is derived from the Greek, zodion, meaning the sculptured figure of an animal, and seven of the twelve divisions of the heavens are represented by animals of one kind or another. wedgwood was originally supplied with the Signs by Mrs. Mary Landre in 1774. They were modelled by Hackwood. They were used as frieze on some fine black basaltes vases of the Wedgwood & Bentley period, and were then reduced in size for use as cameo borders, and for jasper pieces generally. In recent times they have been repriduced as seperate figures for setting in cuff links and brooches. A rare, but not inappropriate, 18th century use for a cricular cameo decorated with the signs of the Zodiac was to mount it in brass as a clock pendulum. Other examples of the use of this motif in clude Arnold Machin's Taurus the Bull of 1945 which is decorated with Zodiac symbols designed by Eric Ravilious. 

  • Jasper


    A fine-grained stoneware body developed by Josiah Wedgwood I in the mid 1770s, and the ceramic ware most associated with the name. The most famous colour combination known today is the traditional blue and white, which is usually decorated with classical bas reliefs.

    With changes in architectural styles and the rise in popularity of neo-classical styles of interior decoration Josiah Wedgwood began a series of experiments to create a new ceramic material that would complement the new fashions. Thousands of meticulously recorded experiments were carried out to make a stoneware body that was capable of taking a mineral oxide stain throughout. The search for the jasper body absorbed much of Wedgwood's energy and time, the result being his most important contribution to ceramic history.

    The majority of the actual trials were carried out between December 1772 and December 1774, Josiah writing on the 17 March of the latter year: ‘have for some time past been reviewing my experiments, & I find such Roots, such Seeds as would open & branch out wonderfully if I could nail myself down to the cultivation of them for a year or two'.

    By January 1775 he was ‘absolute' in the production of jasper with coloured grounds. He was also in a position to advertise that he could manufacture bas reliefs, ranging from large plaques to small cameos for mounting as jewellery. The range of colours steadily increased, and by March 1776 Josiah was sending his first specimens of yellow to London. By September experiments were in hand for black jasper. Certainly by Spring of 1777 he was carrying out further experiments to perfect a surface ‘dip' to provide deeper coloured grounds for his cameos; and by the middle of December 1777, he was able to offer Bentley a choice of ‘Green - yellow - lalock [lilac] etc. to the colour of the rooms', referring to the tones favoured by their mutual acquaintance the architect Robert Adam.